Topics in Free Will

Edited by Taylor W. Cyr (Washington University in St. Louis)
About this topic
Summary This category covers the main topics that have been the focus of the free will debate and over which compatibilists and determinists have argued. Topics like determinism and God's foreknowledge have been central to the debate, insofar as they raise parallel (apparent) challenges to our capacity to exercise free will. Moral responsibility is held by many to be at stake in the free will debate and it too been at the focus of attention. Fatalism, especially logical fatalism, is no longer central but there is a rich literature from earlier centuries much of which addressed issues related to those which remain central. Debate over whether free will requires alternative possibilities has always been lively: the advent of Frankfurt-style cases has given this debate new life for the past 4 decades.
Key works For a lively and penetrating selection of recent work on foreknowledge, see Fischer 1989Sobel 1998 is a central text on a range of problems to do with fatalims and determinism. Earman 1993 contains important work on determinism.Debate over alternative possibilities was revitalized by Frankfurt 1969Widerker & McKenna 2003 collects representative papers from among the very many on this increasingly complex debate.
Introductions Zagzebski 2002;Rice 2008; Earman 2004; Fischer 2002
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Material to categorize
  1. The Moral Responsibility of Peacekeeping.Topolski Anya - forthcoming - Philosophica.
  2. Tilman Krischer: Das Problem der trilogischen Komposition und die dramaturgische Entwicklung der attischen Tragödie. (Frankfurt diss.) Pp. 125. Frankfurt: privately printed, 1960 (obtainable from Buchhandlung am Goethehaus, Am Salzhaus 3, Frankfurt a. M.). Paper, DM. 5. [REVIEW]H. C. Baldry - 1963 - The Classical Review 13 (01):110-.
  3. Persons the Strawsonian Tradition.Seth Barber - 1995
  4. Determinism and Avoidability in Sociohistorical Analysis.Harry H. Bash - 1964 - Ethics 74 (3):186-200.
  5. Put Up or Shut Up? A Reply to Peggy DesAutels' Defense of Christian Science.Margaret P. Battin - 1995 - Journal of Social Philosophy 26 (3):113-122.
  6. James and the Rationality of Determinism.Robert W. Beard - 1967 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 5 (2):149-156.
  7. Foreknowledge and Predestination.Lawrence C. Becker - 1972 - Mind 81 (321):138-141.
  8. The Way of the Agent.Nuel Belnap & Michael Perloff - 1992 - Studia Logica 51 (3-4):463 - 484.
    The conditional,if an agent did something, then the agent could have done otherwise, is analyzed usingstit theory, which is a logic of seeing to it that based on agents making choices in the context of branching time. The truth of the conditional is found to be a subtle matter that depends on how it is interpreted (e.g., on what otherwise refers to, and on the difference between could and might) and also on whether or not there are busy choosers that (...)
  9. The Status of Determinism.Jonathan Bennett - 1963 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 14 (54):106-119.
  10. The Moral Importance of Free Action.Paul Benson - 1990 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 28 (1):1-18.
  11. On Causal Inference in Determinism and Indeterminism.Joseph Berkovitz - 2002 - In Harald Atmanspacher & Robert C. Bishop (eds.), Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism. Thorverton Uk: Imprint Academic. pp. 237--278.
  12. Justification and Determinism - An Exchange.Mark Bernstein - 1988 - The Monist 71 (3):358-364.
  13. IX. Determinism Defined.Bernard Berofsky - 2015 - In Determinism. Princeton University Press. pp. 268-270.
  14. II. Predictability.Bernard Berofsky - 2015 - In Determinism. Princeton University Press. pp. 28-34.
  15. XI. Determinism and Falsification.Bernard Berofsky - 2015 - In Determinism. Princeton University Press. pp. 282-290.
  16. Determinism and Duty.L. S. Bevington - 1880 - Mind 5 (17):30-45.
  17. Single, Alternate, and Successive Practice in the Acquisition of Two and Three Serial Lists.William L. Bewley, Douglas L. Nelson & W. J. Brogden - 1968 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 76 (3p1):376.
  18. Determinism and Social Science.Rajeev Bhargava - 1992 - In Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, Indu Banga & Chhanda Gupta (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Perspectives From Natural and Social Sciences. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. pp. 40--151.
  19. Reflections on Economic Determinism.Brand Blanshard - 1966 - Journal of Philosophy 63 (7):169-178.
  20. The Case for Determinism.Brand Blanshard - 1958 - In Sidney Hook (ed.), Determinism and Freedom in the Age of Modern Science. Collier-Macmillan. pp. 19--30.
  21. What Never Occurred to Jones: A Comment on the Analysis of Knowledge.B. L. Blose - 1977 - Philosophical Studies 31 (3):205 - 209.
  22. Moral Freedom.Paula Boddington - 1990 - Philosophical Books 31 (2):109-110.
  23. Human and Divine Freedom in the Theology of Bernard of Clairvaux: A Systematic Analysis.Nico den Bok - 1993 - Bijdragen 54 (3):271-295.
  24. Keys of Gnosis.Robert Bolton - 2004 - Sophia Perennis.
    The nature of the real self -- Whole person and duality -- How nature is dual -- Real self and false self -- A primary certainty -- Certainty in the self -- The original cogito argument -- Overcoming representation -- The theory of right and wrong -- The defining principle -- Narrowing the definition -- The centrality of reason -- A question of proof -- Reason and intelligence -- A universal activity -- Human and animal consciousness -- Anti-spiritual assumptions -- (...)
  25. Determinism, Laws, and Predictability in Principle.Richard Boyd - 1972 - Philosophy of Science 39 (4):431-450.
    This paper examines commonly offered arguments to show that human behavior is not deterministic because it is not predictable. These arguments turn out to rest on the assumption that deterministic systems must be governed by deterministic laws, and that these give rise to predictability "in principle" of determined events. A positive account of determinism is advanced and it is shown that neither of these assumptions is true. The relation between determinism, laws, and prediction in practice is discussed as a question (...)
  26. In Defence of Free Will, with Other Philosophical Essays. [REVIEW]M. C. Bradley - 1968 - Journal of Philosophy 65 (11):341-350.
  27. Determinism or Indeterminism in Microphysics.R. D. Bradley - 1962 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 13 (51):193-215.
  28. Blameworthiness and Obligation.R. B. Brandt - 1958 - In A. I. Melden (ed.), Essays in Moral Philosophy. University of Washington Press.
  29. Freedom, Infallibility and the Fixity of the Past.Dale Eric Brant - 1996 - Dissertation, University of California, Irvine
    A study of the medieval foreknowledge problem: an apparent conflict between God's universal infallibility and human freedom. To say that God is universally infallible is to say that for every proposition, God's believing that proposition implies that it is true. Let's say that the belief implies its object. So God's belief yesterday that Jones will murder her neighbor today implies that she will murder him. Furthermore, the past is fixed, rendering propositions about the past true or false is impossible, so (...)
  30. 7. Through the Free-Standing Studies and Their Aggregation in a Grand Program, Analytical Political Philosophy Can Deal with Evil.David Braybrooke - 2006 - In Analytical Political Philosophy: From Discourse, Edification. University of Toronto Press. pp. 149-172.
  31. Determinism in Modern Science.Percy W. Bridgman - 1958 - In Sidney Hook (ed.), Determinism and Freedom in the Age of Modern Science. Collier-Macmillan. pp. 75--94.
  32. The Philosophical Implications of Foreknowledge.C. D. Broad - 1937 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 16 (1):177 - 209.
  33. From Necessity to Fate: A Fallacy.Sarah Broadie - 2001 - The Journal of Ethics 5 (1):21-37.
    Though clearly fallacious, the inference from determinism to fatalism (the ``Lazy Argument'''') has appealed to such minds as Aristotle and his disciple, Alexander of Aphrodisias. It is argued here (1) that determinism does entail a rather similar position, dubbed ``futilism''''; and (2) that distinctively Aristotelian determinism entails fatalism for any event to which it applies. The concept of ``fate'''' is examined along the way.
  34. Time, Will, and Mental Process.Jason W. Brown - 1996
  35. Bailey on Incompatibilism and the “No Past Objection”.Anthony Brueckner & Christopher T. Buford - 2011 - Logos and Episteme 2 (4):613-617.
    In ”Incompatibilism and the Past,” Andrew Bailey engages in a thorough investigation of what he calls the "No Past Objection" to arguments for incompatibilism.This is an objection that stems from the work of Joseph Keim Campbell and that has generated an Interesting literature. Bailey ends by offering his own answer to the No Past Objection by giving his own argument for incompatibilism, an argument that he claims to be immune to the objection. We have some observations to make regarding what (...)
  36. The Refutation of Determinism.I. A. Bunting - 1969 - Philosophical Studies 18:288-291.
  37. A Fundamental Test for Determinism.Charles Theodore Burnett - 1907 - Ethics 18 (2):220.
  38. Determinism and Causation Examples.Marc Burock - unknown
    In studying causation, many examples are presented assuming that determinism holds in the world of the example such as the notoriously difficult to resolve preemptive and preventative situations. We show that for deterministic examples that this conditional preemptive situation is either (i)vacuously true, (ii)contradictory, or (iii) implies indeterminism. Along the way we formulate a specific block space-time definition of determinism, and suggest that commonsense causation theories need focus on unphysical quantities and indeterminism.
  39. The Conditions of Free Agency.Sarah Buss - 1989 - Dissertation, Yale University
    In this essay I attempt to identify the conditions of morally responsible action; and from the start, I conceive morally responsible action as free action. Some philosophers argue that the causal origins of an act are irrelevant to whether it is a free act; others believe that free acts cannot be causally determined; and still others believe that a free act is an act from which the agent must be capable of refraining. I defend a view at odds with each (...)
  40. On Frankfurt's Explanation of Respect for People.Sarah Buss & Lee Overton (eds.) - 2002 - MIT Press.
  41. The Artist as Creator: An Essay of Human Freedom. [REVIEW]M. C. - 1956 - Review of Metaphysics 10 (1):181-181.
  42. Freedom and the Self: Essays on the Philosophy of David Foster Wallace.Steven M. Cahn & Maureen Eckert (eds.) - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
    The book_ Fate, Time, and Language: An Essay on Free Will_, published in 2010 by Columbia University Press, presented David Foster Wallace's challenge to Richard Taylor's argument for fatalism. In this anthology, notable philosophers engage directly with that work and assess Wallace's reply to Taylor as well as other aspects of Wallace's thought. With an introduction by Steven M. Cahn and Maureen Eckert, this collection includes essays by William Hasker, Gila Sher, Marcello Oreste Fiocco, Daniel R. Kelly, Nathan Ballantyne, Justin (...)
  43. A New Taxonomy of Persisting Objects.Claudio Calosi & Vincenzo Fano - 2015 - Topoi 34 (1):283-294.
    The paper presents a thorough exploration of the problem of persistence in a relativistic context. Using formal methods such as mereology, formal theories of location and the so called intrinsic formulation of special relativity we provide a new, more rigorous and more comprehensive taxonomy of persisting entities. This new taxonomy differs significantly from the ones that are present in the recent literature.
  44. Moral Libertarianism: A Reply to Mr. Franklin.C. A. Campbell - 1962 - Philosophical Quarterly 12 (49):337-347.
  45. Free Will and the Necessity of the Past.J. K. Campbell - 2007 - Analysis 67 (2):105-111.
  46. The Logic of Freedom.Joseph Michael Campbell - 1992 - Dissertation, The University of Arizona
    I take it for granted that free will is a central philosophical notion. Still, throughout Western history certain philosophers have put forth arguments which claim that no person has, or could have, free will. These arguments may be grouped into three different types. First, there are metalogical arguments which argue that since all propositions are either true or false, and since propositions do not change their truth-values, no person ever has free will. Second, there are divination arguments which claim that (...)
  47. More Than Mere Black Boxes: A Defense of Human Freedom.Patricia Nicole Canzoneri - 2001 - Dissertation, Texas a&M University
    This dissertation makes two general arguments. First, I argue that we can reasonably address and decide between deterministic and anti-deterministic accounts of human behavior via standards of empirical, logical and moral consistency. Second, I argue that we must address this philosophical question about human behavior because our answer has profound implications for a range of applications. I demonstrate why it is important, both practically and theoretically, to make a studied, objective choice between deterministic and anti-deterministic theories.
  48. Reply to Daniela Bailer-Jones.Nancy Cartwright - 2008 - In Nancy Cartwright, Stephan Hartmann, Carl Hoefer & Luc Bovens (eds.), Nancy Cartwright’s Philosophy of Science. Routledge. pp. 38--40.
  49. Just Deserts: The Dark Side of Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2014 - Southwest Philosophy Review 30 (1):27-38.
  50. Taylor's Incompatibility Argument.Hugh S. Chandler - 1968 - Dialogue 7 (2):273-277.
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